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BN Editor
BookClubEditor
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What Is Romance?: Male Readers

If you are a woman, do you know any men who read romance novels? If so, why do they read them? If you are a man, why do you read romance?


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Storeetllr
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers


BookClubEditor wrote:

If you are a woman, do you know any men who read romance novels? If so, why do they read them? If you are a man, why do you read romance?



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I don't personally know any men who read romances, but I belong to an online book club with a romance novel thread, and a couple of men are members. One of them, who is married and has daughters and granddaughters, said he especially likes romances that include the development of families. He also said he feels empathy with the heroes/heroines if they have well-developed families and likes to read stories with strong family ties. From what I recall of his posts, he prefers contemporary romances by authors like Krentz, Roberts, Carly Phillips, Evanovich, and Crusie.
She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain. (Louisa May Alcott)
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ChristineM
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Male Readers

Lucky you to even know any. I worked at Borders for 10 years and I don't recall spotting even one (unless they were teenage boys who were trying to hide the fact that they were really reading from the porn section 2 cases over!)
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TinaSChang
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

Science Fiction sometimes takes the form of a romance novel insofar as the plot structure.. Skipping the women authors and going to some bestselling men:

"Songs of a Distant Earth" by Arthur C. Clarke
"The Naked Sun" by Isaac Asimov

"The Naked Sun" has a mystery element to it, with a running sexual attraction between the detective and the heroine. It is told from the guy's perspective. I wouldn't count it as a romance except that their relationship is not purely sexual and there is a lot of unrequited tension. It starts as purely sexual admiration and the rest builds up somewhat unexpectedly. The SF is top quality realistic scientific exploration of the future. It is the second book in the bestselling robot trilogy.

"Songs of a Distant Earth" is less well known, very strong SF in terms of realistic potential future world, but it's plot is largely that of a romance. Again the attraction starts as purely sexual.

I think the SF male reader is often interested in exploring new kinds of sexuality and family relationships. Don't forget Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" and of course "A Brave New World" and "1984" which have become required high school reading. But it isn't enough just to have some new strange sex. The plot has to work it in and so a romance plot is often more appropriate than a mystery or action plot for such a piece.

Talking with male friends, the romance storyline that most captures their interest is King Arthur and Sir Lancelot. The primary interest to them being the issue of falling in love with a best friend's wife. Of course they all know this story because it is caught in a classic men's tale.

So in short, I think a romance plotline can well be used in genre fiction popular with men.
Tina S. Chang
Science and Math Fiction

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Brandy
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

No, I don't know of any male readers that read romance, My husband does tend to peak at what I've written but not at any of what I'm reading so he might be considered a male reader. What do guys think? Let me know so I can drop the bomb on him. :smileyhappy:I think he might enjoy knowing that is a romance reader buff.
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LeighMichaels
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Male and Female Readers

Both men and women read romances -- but perhaps it's for different reasons.

A very sweet man told me once at a book signing that he read romance to keep in touch with how his wife liked to be treated.

What other differences might there be in how men and women look at romance novels?

Leigh
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realta
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Re: Male and Female Readers

Okay, here's an idea.

I think the core story of a lot of romance novels is this: an ordinary woman becomes the all-consuming interest (=the life focus) of an extraordinary man, and does it not by accomplishing anything spectacular, but just by being who and what she is.

By "ordinary" woman, I mean: not a billionaire, often not spectacularly beautiful, but extraordinarily kind-hearted, very good with kids, and super-tough and optimistic under difficult circumstances.

By "extraordinary" man, I mean: often a billionaire/outrageous success in life, alpha, ferociously good-looking, etc. "Men want to be him, and women just want him." That kind of guy.

So it's clear what the fantasy is for women readers. For men? Not so much.

Now, here are two romantic movies that a lot of men I know _love_: "Say Anything" and "Notting Hill." I liked both movies too, but I think it's interesting that they involve a reversal of the pattern I've given above. In "Say Anything," John Cusack is a really nice, kind of ordinary guy who winds up with Ione Skye, playing the brilliant, spectacularly beautiful high-school standout. In "Notting Hill," well ... it's really just an ordinary guy's fantasy, isn't it? "Suppose I met Julia Roberts, and she fell in love with me ... Sigh ..."

But if it's true that men are more visual than women, romantic movies might just be a more appealing draw for them than romantic books. It's tough to reproduce the beauty of Ione Skye or Julia Roberts on the printed page. (As for me, I'll go see any movie Sean Bean makes!)

What do you think?

Realta
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dixielandgrl
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Re: Male and Female Readers

Must love dogs was a movie where the female pursued the man more than the opposite. There is no question men are more visual. I'm not convinced that's all of it though.

Men and women, I am convinced, have very different natures. I think romance can be written for men, but romance could not be the focus. Men need action.

I just read a book. Wildfire by Nelson Demille. I think my husband would have found it very romantic. The family that tracks down terrorists together, stays together. There was this underexpressed affection and caring on the man's part. It stayed in his head the whole book and so did his wife. It expressed his love in the frequency of his thoughts of her, the protectiveness he felt toward her and his respect of her abilities. And at the end, she got really sexy and shot a bunch of bad guys. Seriously, it was male romance, I think.

I found it romantic, sort of, but it was only because I was in his head. His wife didn't find him romantic at all. Men do keep it in too much. How do we know unless they tell us?
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
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HappyKaren
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

My husband reads romance novels. He even takes them on fishing trips and now his best friend is reading them too. It works for me, because they are maiking some (much needed) room in my bookcases.

My husband grew up in a house where the only books were the Bible and school texts. Reading for pleasure was unknown to him until he met me, so he started reading them because they were readily available, and continues to do so because he enjoys them, and the variety of sub-genres I read gives him an overview of other types of literature he might enjoy.

I'm fairly certain his buddy only reads them for the sex. :smileywink:
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dixielandgrl
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

That was funny. You'll fit in just fine here. This is a funny, funny group. :smileyhappy:
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
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Ch-Janet
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

I've read a few Harlequin romances written by men, but the emotion isn't anywhere near as strong as in those written by women, and the stories often seem to be lacking emotional intensity.

As for male readers, I can't think many men would enjoy reading romance novels uless the novels were erotica.

Perhaps it boils down to that Mars and venus thing.

In romance novels the main character is usually a woman. I know lots of romance have 2 protagonists the H and the h, but the stories are mainly about a woman having her dreams fulfilled. The stories are mainly centered around emotion.

Men probably prefer adventure books where the man leads the story and solves the problems and the story is comprised mainly of action.

I must read those 2 science fiction books again . I've a collection old Arthur C Clarke books and Asimov ones. I used to love them but haven't read any SF for years
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lavenderlass
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

I've never known a man read a romance book either but I know one man who writes them. Roger Sanderson used to write men's war comics then moved to write for mills & boon medical line with his wife. Then she left to do something else, I think she's a psycologist or something in the medical line, and he carried on.

I loved the thought of Leigh's chap reading them to see how to treat women, I wish I knew a chap like that!

Lynne.
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dixielandgrl
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

Don't we all, Honey! Don't we all.

:smileyhappy:
"If all would lead their lives in love like me,
Then bloody swords and armor should not be:" Thomas Campion
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beccajean22
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

I can say that I don't know of any men who read romances. They should though maybe they would learn something.
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Rakaider
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

[ Edited ]
Yeah, I'm a guy and I freakin' LOVE romance novels. It's kind of weird how I started loving them.

I was just in Barnes and Noble two years ago, and I picked up a book (Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter), and I kinda skimmed through it. The story itself I assumed it was cool cause of the alien huntress deal, but when I finally bought it and read it on my way home. I realized it was a romance because of the descriptive scenes!

It's not that it's bad, I actually love the romance and storyline itself, not because of the "love scenes" in it. I hate that. When I'm at school, when some people see my books lying around, they say ignorant things like "Sex book!" or "Eew! What your reading is inappropriate."

Now, when I go to BaN to pick up a new book, I'm the only sign of male radiating in the romance section. Every now and then I get weird looks and awkward faces when:

- I go to customer service and ask if they have my book.
- A woman sees me looking through the shelves actually looking for it.

As long as I get my book and I enjoy reading it, then I'm happy.

Message Edited by Rakaider on 05-15-200709:31 PM

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StuckbutFree
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

I wouldn’t say that I’ve gone out of my way to pick up a romance novel. But on more than one occasion I have stumbled upon a book. I would describe it none the less as a way to escape reality. I’m not speaking for the rest of my gender, but things seem to be so cut in dry these days. He's a man that’s all he wants. Sex, if he reads a magazine then it must be a porn or some kind of a pictorial. If it’s a romance novel then it must be an erotica, I hate the label. Now, im only 22 so I say these days in reference to the short life I have lived thus far. Back to what I started, LOVE plain and simple, from adolescence it surrounds your daily realities. When you meet that first love, it becomes an addiction, all boundaries drop, when its over your soul deflates. But it always keeps you wondering if you’ll ever stumble back upon it. But to me it can bring back old feelings or inflate ones with a partner you’re already experiencing.
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Haydon_5
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

I am a married professional, the father of three daughters and I read romance. I read romance specifically to remind myself how the beginning of my romance felt. It helps me remember how I felt when I was dating my wife for the first time, and keeps the feelings fresh. As a relationship ages, different things become important, and different feelings develop, but it is always important, at least to me, to remember the excitement and thrill of getting to know my wife for the first time. I am actually a bit miffed at how much the romance genre has really begun to emphasis the spicy, and erotic side of the genre. I feel like it really detracts from what makes a romance a romance: the interpersonal connection.
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skipster56
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

I don't read romance novels, but I write them. I call then love-action-suspense novels. I like romance because that is what a relationship is build on. My 25 year old daughter wrote a quote that I keep at my desk. I would like to share it with you.
"There is no such thing as love at first sight. Only lust. True love is the meaning of always making that lust, last forever." Christina Stover.
I have always thought romance was the key. I have it in my life all the time. It not only makes her feel good, it makes me feel great that I can still romance her.

I know in editing my novel, I got to the 14th chapter and tears came to my eyes. I didn't even realize I wrote the emotions, I did, in that chapter until I read them.
View the new web page for Dangerous Love at www.skipstover.com
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skipster56
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Re: What Is Romance?: Male Readers

Sorry for the typo's. I didn't get much sleep last night. Watched The Patriot Games for the 3rd time. Had to get up early and I am still out and about.
View the new web page for Dangerous Love at www.skipstover.com
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Antialiased
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Re: Male and Female Readers

'realta' had the issue down perfectly.

As the operator of the only romance book and film website for men, I do my best to find any books that might appeal to men generally. However, while I've tried reading many women's romance novels, there is usually nothing at all in them for men - to reiterate realta's point; they are 'her' fantasy not 'his' and definitely not mine. --RomanceNews.Net Admin
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